Alessandro Morais, Mariana Siqueira, Roniel Freitas-Oliveira, Daniel Brito


Protected areas are the most frequently used tool for the mitigation of threats to biodiversity. However, without effective management, the creation of new protected areas may be ineffective. In Brazil, protected areas must have both a governing body (consultative or deliberative council) and an official management plan. Here, we analyzed general trends and patterns in the approval of the management plans for Brazilian federal protected areas. We considered all federal protected areas, and compiled data on (i) the year the area was created, (ii) the type of protected area (integral protection vs. sustainable use), (iii) year its management plan was approved, (iv) year in which the management plan was revised after its approval, (v) total area (in hectares), and (vi) the biome in which the area is located. We stablished three groups of protected area: 1) Group A:  protected areas created prior to 1979, 2) Group B: protected areas created between 1979 and 1999, and 3) Group C: protected areas created between 2000 to the present time. Finally, we tested whether time for the approval of the management plan suffered a simultaneous effect of the type of biome and type of categories of protected area (strictly protected vs. sustainable use areas). We found 211 (63.17% of the 334) protected areas with management plan. On average, the time taken for the creation and approval of a management plan far exceeds the deadlines (5 yrs.) defined under current Brazilian law. All Brazilian biomes are poorly covered by protected areas with effective management plans, with the highest and lowest value observed in the Pantanal (100%) and Caatinga (46.42%), respectively. Our results suggest that the effectiveness of many federal protected areas in Brazil can be reduced considerably by the lack of a management plan, with deleterious consequences for the country’s principal conservation strategies.


Brazilian biomes; Brazilian conservation strategies; Brazilian environmental legislation; strictly protected areas; sustainable use reserves.


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